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Gov. Abbott talks exclusively with CBS News Texas after SCOTUS ruling on Texas immigration law

Gov. Abbott encouraged by "consequential" SCOTUS ruling allowing Texas to arrest, prosecute migrants
Gov. Abbott encouraged by "consequential" SCOTUS ruling allowing Texas to arrest, prosecute migrants 04:01

NORTH TEXAS — Governor Greg Abbott told CBS News Texas Tuesday afternoon the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling allowing Senate Bill 4 to take effect is "consequential" even though he acknowledged the ruling isn't conclusive.

That proved accurate when hours later, after 10 p.m. CST when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans blocked SB 4 from taking effect. 

Judges there have scheduled oral arguments for 10 a.m. CST Wednesday.

MORE: Texas immigration law blocked again, just hours after Supreme Court allowed state to arrest migrants

The Governor was campaigning in Rockwall on Tuesday afternoon when a staffer handed him a note telling him about the Supreme Court's order.  

The hundreds of Republicans in the crowd cheered when Abbott shared the news. 

"Apparently, the news has changed since I began talking here in Rockwall County," Abbott said. "Texas can begin enforcing the immigration law." 

The law allows state and local law enforcement to arrest, prosecute, and deport migrants who cross into Texas illegally -- which means away from the legal ports of entry.

 State judges will be deciding these cases.    

This case isn't settled, but Governor Abbott said he's encouraged by the ruling. 

"Oh yeah. What it signals is there are six votes on the Supreme Court that say it's ok for Texas to go ahead and begin enforcing the law. And so, that is a very consequential step that's been taken. It's not conclusive but it's consequential for now."

A number of organizations filed a lawsuit challenging the Texas law in late December saying it was unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has previously ruled only the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration law.

The Biden administration has fought the state of Texas saying it is illegally developing its own immigration policy.     

Abbott said what the Texas law does is uphold federal law, something he said the Biden administration is not doing.

He said he's preparing for his next step.

"So, the first thing I'm going to do is talk to the Director of the Department of Public Safety, leaders of the National Guard as well as local law enforcement and make sure we're all in synch together exactly how this is going to be enforced." 

Opponents of the law are calling this a very dark day in Texas history.

They have sharply criticized the legislation, comparing it to a "show me your papers law" and saying it unfairly targets Latinos.

In response the Governor said, "That's just a false narrative. People who never want to see the law go into effect. We're getting people from more than 150 different countries across the world. Those people who say we're going to target Latinos, that's completely ignorant about the people and where they're coming from. We're getting people from China, we're getting people from Russia, we're getting people from the Middle East."

Gov. Abbott discusses the Supreme Court's ruling on SB4 04:23

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